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Eur J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2013 Apr;12(2):167-76. doi: 10.1177/1474515112439964. Epub 2012 Apr 18.

Determinants of heart failure self-care behaviour in community-based patients: a cross-sectional study.

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  • 1Department of General Practice and Health Services Research, University Hospital Heidelberg, Germany.



Self-care behaviour in patients with heart failure (HF) represents a series of specific actions that patients should take, as an important treatment component.


The aim of this study was to identify potential determinants of HF self-care in ambulatory patients with stable systolic HF.


In a cross-sectional study of 318 patients with chronic systolic HF recruited in 48 German primary care practices, we evaluated the patient-reported European HF Self-care Behaviour scale (EHFScBs) assessments (range 12-60, where lower scores indicate better self-care). Potential determinants included socio-demographic (e.g. age, living status), clinical (e.g. NYHA class, LVEF, NT-proBNP levels, co-morbidities), behavioural (e.g. smoking and alcohol intake), psychosocial (SF-36 scales and KCCQ domains, e.g. quality of life and self-efficacy) and depression status (PHQ-D), plus previous health care utilisation. Mixed regression modelling was applied.


Patients had a mean (SD) age of 69.0 (10.4) years and were 71% male. They had a good overall EHFScBs score of 24.7 (7.8) (n=274). In the final regression model (n=271), six determinants were retained (β; descriptive p-value): self-efficacy (-0.24; <.001), age (-0.22; <.001), prosthetic heart valve (-0.14; .01), referrals to cardiologists (-0.14; .02), peripheral arterial disease (0.13; .03) and quality of life (0.16; .02).


In this exploratory cross-sectional study, the potential non-modifiable and modifiable risk factors and resources involved in patients' HF self-care were at the individual and organisational level. Self-efficacy and quality of life are potentially modifiable, so these could be targeted for improvement by enhancing patient motivation, HF education and further supporting a collaborative care approach.

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